Politico writers Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin reported a claim by Tucker Bounds, McCain campaign spokesman, that "Barack Obama wants more taxes from 21 million small businesses," without noting that it is false. In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 481,000 small businesses fall into the tax brackets that would be affected by those increases.
In a July 7 Politico article, senior political writers Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin reported an assertion by Tucker Bounds, campaign spokesman for John McCain, that "Barack Obama wants more taxes from 21 million small businesses," without noting that the claim is false. Bounds' claim echoed McCain's false suggestion during a June 10 speech at the National Small Business Summit that Obama plans to raise taxes on 21.6 million sole proprietorships that file taxes under the individual income tax. In fact, Obama has proposed rolling back President Bush's tax cuts only on "people who are making 250,000 dollars a year or more," and according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center's table of 2007 tax returns that reported small-business income, 481,000 of those returns are in the top two income tax brackets -- which include all filers with taxable incomes of more than $250,000 -- not 21.6 million.
From the July 7 Politico article:
On June 19, Barack Obama released his first television advertisement, a multi-million dollar, 18-state production that conveyed the core of his campaign's goal this summer: To establish his American cultural normalcy.
Obama offered a clear new version of his complex family story: "I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. We didn't have much money, but they taught me values straight from the Kansas heartland where they grew up." His African father and his upbringing abroad were never mentioned, and he was pictured in six images surrounded by ordinary-looking white people.
Two hours later, John McCain's campaign spokesman, Tucker Bounds, emailed reporters a terse, standard-issue and irrelevant response: "Barack Obama wants more taxes from 21 million small businesses, 10 million seniors and he's confessed that his economic proposals could damage the economy -- we're confident the more Americans know about Barack Obama the less likely they are to support him," he said.
The exchange encapsulated the disconnect between the two campaigns. John McCain is attacking Barack Obama in well-worn terms: As a flip-flopper, an elitist and a typical politician. But in a year when polls show a generic Democratic candidate easily taking the White House, the Illinois Senator has little reason to fear being defined by his party -- or as anything typical.
"There has never been a major party candidate less relevant in an election than John McCain," said Democratic strategist James Carville. "It's all about Obama."
To Obama right now, McCain is indeed almost incidental.